Flirting with the Dark Side

Anthony Caruana
13 March, 2017
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Over the last few weeks, as regular readers will recall, I’ve been using a Windows computer for some of my work. As part of that, I’ve also been using Google’s Chrome and Gmail software so that I can enjoy a consistent user experience across all my devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows PC).

This has not been smooth sailing.

Part of the problem lies with Apple’s stubbornness in not letting me choose what applications I’d prefer to use on my iOS devices. Setting Chrome as the default browser for all links can’t be done in iOS unless I acquiesce to Google’s will and use all their applications all the time. But this is not possible in my experience.

Why I can make those decisions on my Mac and not on iOS, where the applications are supposedly curated and checked to ensure they are safe is a mystery to me.

In short, Apple will be getting their own way soon as I move back to using Mail and Safari on my iPhone and iPad Pro.

On my Windows PC, my journey has been quite rocky. I suspect the issues lie in more than one area.

After finding a free (and I assume legal as I didn’t use a VPN or do anything tricky) stream of the Australia vs India test cricket, my computer mysteriously shut down. On restarting, there was an error message telling me the computer could not restart and that I was basically down to using a recovery disk or USB to get started.

Naturally, that was something I didn’t have handy.

The PC I’m using is not new. I purchased it when Windows 7 was the thing to have in the Windows world and it has been upgraded through to Windows 10.

To cut to the chase, I created a recovery USB stick, restarted with it and repaired my installation. But the next morning the same problem recurred so I cut my losses and decided to fully reinstall Windows 10.

What have I learned? I’ve had the occasional Mac curl up its toes on me. I’ve always had a recovery option, on a USB stick handy, just in case. I now have the same thing for Windows.

And every now and then, a fresh installation is not a bad thing. With the Mac, we’ve become accustomed to annual updates and we simply layer them one on top of the other. It is inevitable, particularly if you’re a bit of a tinkerer, that you’ll accumulate some cruft that makes your computer run less than at its best.

What’s your maintenance plan? Do you keep a recovery disk or USB stick handy just in case? Do you regularly reinstall macOS (or OS X as it was known) every year or two?

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